Iowa-born Attorney to Discuss ‘Right to Know’ legislation in Waukee

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Iowa native and legal expert Amanda Knief will speak about proposed legislation known as “The Patient’s Right to Know Act” at the Waukee Public Library on November 17.

Knief is the National Legal and Public Policy Director for American Atheists, a group that describes itself as being “dedicated to working for the civil rights of atheists, promoting separation of state and church, and providing information about atheism.”

The PRKA proposal, drafted by the organization, is designed to “ensure that patients are able to make completely informed medical decisions about their health by requiring health care providers to disclose to patients and prospective patients exactly which types of medical care they do not provide because of their religious beliefs.”

“This is about disclosure,” Knief said in a public statement, “not about forcing providers to do anything they have a religious objection to.”

A news release published by Atheist Voter states, “There are no state or federal laws or regulations that require health care providers to inform patients of services or treatments a provider will not provide because of the provider’s religious beliefs.”

Knief and her organization argue that health care providers can opt out of delivering medical services such as “abortions, birth control, tubal ligation, hormone replacement therapy, and nearly any other treatment that conflicts with the provider’s religious beliefs or the religious doctrine of the affiliated religious group.”

AA has compiled a list of over 700 “religiously affiliated hospitals in the United States” that fall under this category from “publicly available data.”

“If a religiously affiliated hospital or health care provider has some objection to a specific treatment, they can continue to opt out of providing those services. What they can’t do is pull a bait and switch on patients and potential patients,” according to Knief.

Knief holds a B.S. in journalism and science communication, as well as a J.D. from Drake University. While she was a student at Drake, she won the top award for her essay “Gender Bias in Asylum Law: Recognizing Persecution Against Women and Girls,” judged by the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence.

Knief previously worked for the Legislative Services Agency of the Iowa Legislature, authored the book The Citizen Lobbyist, served as a lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America and now works. She lives in Washington D.C.

Knief will be speaking at the Waukee Public Library, located at 950 Warrior Lane in Waukee, Iowa, from 5-7pm. The event is free to the public. Organizers advise that people enter “through both sets of double doors, then turn right into the meeting room.” Attendants will also have an opportunity to meet with Knief after her talk.